A big step forward

A significant development was announced this week by the companies involved in the project to bring natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to market. The companies involved selected Nikiski as the lead site for a natural gas liquefaction plant and terminal.

The news is a big deal for Alaska, which has been trying to figure out how to get its natural gas to market for decades. According to senior project manager Steve Butt, acquiring the land on which to build an LNG plant is a necessary step in applying for an export license, which is needed to keep the project moving forward.

It’s also a big deal for the Kenai Peninsula, where such a project would provide a cornerstone for the local economy for decades to come.

ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips and TransCanada, the companies involved in the effort, noted a number of factors that make Nikiski a favorable location, including already exisiting infrastructure, land available that can accommodate the facility, as well as a pipeline route from the North Slope that would provide access to in-state users in Alaska’s major population centers.

Of course, it’s one thing to move a project forward on paper, and another to start moving dirt. In an interview with the Clarion, Butt compared the progress on the project to running a hurdle race on the track. You don’t want to start running the race until you’re confident you can clear all the hurdles, not just the first few. With the lead site for the LNG plant selected, engineers will continue to develop the plan to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible.

Butt noted a number of hurdles still need to be cleared, not the least of which is what the industry refers to as a competitive, predictable and durable oil and gas fiscal environment. In other words, the companies involved in the project would like to see the Legislature come up with a tax structure that they feel is workable for the long run. Other issues, from engineering to permitting, still need to be resolved as well.

However, land acquisition is a tangible step forward — and certainly much further along in the process than any previous gas pipeline effort has gone. We’re glad to see the project make that step, and we’re thrilled that the Kenai Peninsula has an opportunity to be a part of it.

More

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 22:53

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more

Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

Read more